In Rome it is difficult to starve, this is evident.
However, hunger can take many forms: from voracity to wolf hunger; from the excellent appetite to that peckish, to that nonsocchè that makes you, as a famous spot of the 90s said, “want something good”.
For all these situations, Rome offers a one-stop solution: Er Pizzicarolo.
It is not clear whether its name derives more from the fact that in ancient times the cured meats, not being all the preservatives available today, were well stuffed with spicy spices, therefore they "stung".
Or if its name derives from the fact that, offering tastings to its customers, what the pizzicarolo offers must be grasped with the thumb and forefinger closed in a vice, therefore with the "pinch"; or even if its name derives from the fact that this profession was born, in the mists of time, mainly by selling pizzas and cheeses.
The fact is that the "pizzicherie" of Rome are one of the truest, most authentic and typical images of this city.
Otherwise called "the pizzicagnolo", this cheerful, hospitable and ruddy popular figure has always been of great importance in small neighborhood communities.
Today, perhaps, the term “salumiere” has also taken hold in popular jargon, alongside the traditional name.
In fact, over the last few decades, the signs with the historic (and philological) name "pizzicheria", from which the verb "spizzicare" derives without a shadow of a doubt, that is, to seize morsels with the fingers delicacies (what Americans call "finger-food"), with which to make life sweeter and more livable.
Small daily "cuddles", with which, as some Roman elder would say "the man lives" ...
And to think that there is also a real artistic dimension of this ancient and beloved craftsman.
In fact, in the pre-Easter time, Roman pizzicaroli usually set up and decorate their shops as if they were temples; and how to blame them: one of the main rituals of the year is about to arrive, the Easter lunch, and their shop is the temple where the most worthy ingredients to celebrate this rite can be found.
The forms of Parmesan, superimposed on each other, become columns; hams, sausages, salami, lemons and bay leaves create exceptional mosaics on the ceilings.
Candles made from animal fats are lit; with butter and ricotta sacred statues are created, comparable to those of alabaster, in a mixture of the sacred and the profane which - in one word - is Rome itself.
Mirrors placed everywhere reflect lights, sculptures and fruit pyramids.
All this is concocted by the grocery store in person, not so much and not only for mere profit, and to advertise, but above all for devotion, and for the love of beauty, which inevitably must be married to the good.
This preparation can require even two days of work from the grocery store, of creativity and effort, to delight his customers, and to delight in them himself.
As Giuseppe Gioachino Belli narrates:
Colonne de caciotte that will be
Scento a little later, they arreggono an arch
Embroidered in sarsiccie and there they are
Many animals of a new form.
Between the cave in the limb there is a Mosè de strutto
Cor stick in the air like a cop;
At the top of a mountain of ham,
And underneath it pé will whet your hunger.
There is a Christ and a Madonna de butirro,
Drento to a beautiful cave of salami.
A delight for everyone and also for the great poets of Rome, Er Pizzicarolo inspired these verses in Trilussa in which, the poet lamenting his asphyxiated economic condition, he said:
If I did not ciavevo moje, I was alone,
I was leading a life a little more serious,
I was richer than a grocery store ...